Natalie has been doing Pilates with me for almost 3 years now. She comes once per week and she’s been extremely consistent considering multiple injuries she’s had to overcome and continue to work through.
The first day I met Natalie, I was concerned. She didn’t walk in standing upright. She has extreme scoliosis, which caused her tiny frame to be almost completely bent over. But she had a big smile on her face and she told me she was ready to work! So work, we did! We took it slow and continuous for a while. She could NOT “roll up” at all. But she never got frustrated or upset, she just did what she could and kept at it.
Today, she has so much mobility and her posture is fantastic! I sat down with her over some coffee and asked her a few questions about her time in Pilates:
J: So how long have you been doing Pilates now?
Natalie: A little over two years! In October it was my two year anniversary!
J: That’s cool! So, can you tell me a little bit about your injuries?
N: Yes, so….okay I was looking for someone to help me out, because I’m in chronic pain from prior surgeries that I had a very long time ago, but were still causing many problems for me. I had two metal rods in my back from severe scoliosis, the curvature in my spine is about 36 degrees. I also had brain surgery. I just needed help because I wasn’t using my body properly and I was in a ton of pain! I didn’t know how to hold my body properly, I was afraid to do anything because any time I exercised, it just made matters worse.
J: What kind of exercise had you done in the past?
Natalie: Just like Yoga, and trying to do different machines at the gym, or just like even being on the elliptical, which I can’t even really do. Or even like being on the treadmill and just walking, everything exacerbated my pain. I would be just really sore, on top of the pain that I was already having from my injuries, my muscles would lock up and nothing really helped. I just never found anything that really fit, until I found you!
J: YAAAAAAY! Haha!
Natalie: Yeah, it’s finally been the right fit! I was cleaning and going through some old pictures of myself, from like 3 years ago, and I knew it was a pre Pilates picture because my neck is completely out and it’s like swan neck because I’m missing my first vertebra. I wasn’t holding my head properly! You’ve taught me with Pilates how to use my muscles and hold my myself and be aware of my posture at all times. And I know how to keep everything in my core so that the pain doesn’t go in my neck anymore! So it’s just funny that I can tell what’s a pre Pilates picture, just by the way I’m holding myself!
J: I gotta see that picture!
Natalie: Oh yeah! I’ll totally find it!
J: So since you started Pilates, do you practice any of the positions on your own?
Natalie: I do it at home! Just like a few exercises, because it’s totally portable the stuff that you teach me. In my case, I HAVE to do something every day. I have to keep moving, even if I don’t want to, I have to keep doing it. The foam rolling, even the stretches you’ve shown me! It’s all portable and I can do it anywhere!
J: Honestly, you are one of my biggest success stories, not just because of how far you’ve come physically, but because right away, you were like “this is awesome, I’m going to do this exercise at home!” Haha. Most people don’t do their homework!
Natalie: Yeah! It’s also because every since I was a little kid, I had a scoliosis back brace, and I had exercises that I had to do everyday. So I’ve understood the importance of “you have to keep up with this!” I can’t just come and do this for an hour on Saturday, it’s not enough. I have to take the things that you teach me and do them daily, because it makes a big difference. It’s given me more energy, it’s given me confidence, I feel capable! Pilates has been a total game changer for me!
J: Awww! I’m SO glad! So what’s your favorite exercise?
Natalie: Haha! I was thinking about this before came, because I knew you were going to ask me that! The funny part is that I like a lot of them!
J: Okay! So give me your top 3!
Natalie: Okay, I like when we do bicycle with the leg springs. I don’t know why, I just really like the leg springs! I like most things on the Reformer, because I just feel so strong and I never thought in a million years that I would be able to afford to be coming to private Pilates and working on the reformer! Haha! And I just feel so strong when I’m on the Reformer! I also really like Double Leg Stretch! It works my coordination and it takes me a few times to get it right. Which is another reason I think it’s so important to do it privately, instead of a large group, so you can really learn it and get that one on one attention! I think the one on one thing is great too, because you’re more accountable, you have to really show up! You’re not lost in the crowd! This has been the best investment for ME into myself!
J: Yeah, you only get ONE of YOU!
Natalie: Yep! You gotta choose wisely! It’s important to take care of yourself! And I love coming here, it makes me happy!
J: So what’s your least favorite exercise?
Natalie: I don’t enjoy when I see that box!
J: It took you zero seconds to come up with the exercise that you hate! Hahaha!
Natalie: When that thing comes out, I just don’t like anything on that Short box! But I do it, and I don’t complain!
J: Why don’t you like it??
Natalie: I don’t know! I don’t know why I don’t like it. I think it’s because I feel awkward on it, but I know I’m getting better at it! But like all the moves are so small and intricate but work so deeply! But it’s like work smarter not harder! But yeah, when I see that box come out…..
J: I love that you had an immediate reaction to the box!
Natalie: Yeah, see! You didn’t even know I hated it because I never complain!
J: So tell me one thing you can do since you you’ve been doing Pilates that you couldn’t do before?
Natalie: I can get out of bed! It’s just that simple! I could barely get out of bed before I started and now, I can roll up and touch my toes!!
J: Yeah!!! Your Roll Up is on point!
Natalie: These are things I never thought I’d be able to do!
J: To be honest when I first met you, I had my doubts about you rolling up. I trust the work, so I thought it was possible in theory, but I still had some doubts.
Natalie: Yeah, that makes me feel super tough and strong!
J: You ARE super tough and strong! Has your husband noticed how buff your getting?
Natalie: Yeah! He’s noticed my major guns! I turned 40 in June, and I have muscles! When I had my major surgery at age 14, I lost all of my muscles because I could never workout! It’s nice to have all these muscles at my age!
J: Well you are definitely a joy to teach and to be around, you are funny and smart and witty! And I enjoy that you work so hard during your sessions!
Natalie: There’s no point in coming if I’m not going to do the work! Just show up and do the work!